From bad to worse? - NRDC tells EPA to oppose new Enlist Duo pesticide

Earlier this year we told you about how glyphosate – commonly known as Round Up – was responsible for contributing to the dramatic decline in monarch butterflies by eliminating milkweed, the one plant the monarchs depend on to reproduce.  Round Up has been so effective that scientists have documented a huge decline in the presence of milkweed in agricultural fields and along with it, a corresponding decline in monarch butterflies.  But other types of weeds have actually developed a resistance to glyphosate and no longer respond to the application of this pesticide.  Therefore, the chemical companies are looking to address this problem.  Naturally, their solution is: Even more pesticides!  

Dow Chemical recentlypetitioned the EPA to register a new pesticide that combines glyphosate with another pesticide: 2, 4D.  The same company has developed genetically engineered corn and soy that withstand both of these pesticides.  This way farmers can douse their fields with two pesticides at once and eliminate any weeds, including those that are resistant to glyphosate, all without harming their crops. .  So tell me, what happens when the weeds develop resistance to 2, 4 D? 

Anyone can see where this is headed – a snowballing effect of more and more powerful pesticides that threaten both wildlife and human health.  This is hardly a sustainable solution.  That’s why NRDC submitted comments to the EPA highlighting the agency’s failure to address the impacts that the combined use of glyphosate and 2, 4 D will have on the environment and on public health. 

Several months ago NRDC also filed a petition with EPA to evaluate glyphosate given the impacts it is having on the imperiled monarch population.  At a minimum, EPA should not allow the registration of this new cocktail of pesticides until it has conducted that evaluation. Furthermore, there are significant public health concerns with the expanded use of 2, 4D that need to be addressed.  But more than anything, EPA needs to acknowledge that going down a path of approving more and more pesticide combinations will not produce not a sustainable or healthy future for anyone.  Two wrongs will never make a right.


About the Authors

Sylvia Fallon

Director, Wildlife Conservation project

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